This year at CES 2013 we had a chance to check out some brand new products over at the RE Audio booth. They have developed a multitude of new amplifiers that will hit the market very soon. We were able to take some pictures of some of their new amp lines including the CTX, DTX and ZTX series car amplifiers. We must admit they have a very impressive look to them! RE Audio means business.
Tag: Car Amplifiers
At some time you may wonder, how does a car amplifier work? Car amplifiers enhance the signal that runs through the sound system and plays them through the speakers. There are many confusions and mix-ups about how a car amplifier works.
First, an electrical signal moves into the amplifier, through a circuit board, and out the other side through the speakers. The electrical signal may originate from wherever the sound source is, such as the radio or from the CD player. These devices direct a signal to the circuit board. The circuit board boosts the signal as it moves through the sound system of your car.
A frequently misinterpreted functioning of car amplifiers is their output. The output of each car amplifier differs and can be determined very easily. The RMS (root mean square) rating of the amplifier does not tell you very much about the amplifier because most amplifiers will only reach this level for a segment of a second at a time. Instead, you can calculate the actual output of your amplifier by multiplying the peak output by 0.7 and then subtracting the amp’s announced peak performance number from the number you just calculated.
Another characteristic of the car amplifier that is normally mistaken is the bridging. An amplifier that is bridged or can be bridged is simply an amplifier that can create one power supply out of the left and right power supplies. This can significantly boost the power supply to one subwoofer.
When looking at bridgeable amplifiers the term “bridgeable” basically means that the amplifier has the ability to combine the left and the right channel wattage into a single output for one subwoofer. Many amplifiers are not bridgeable either way make sure to read the manufacturer’s recommendation before bridging the channels. To bridge an amplifier, simply place the negative cable of the speaker to the negative terminal of one channel, and the positive cable to the positive of the other. The united power will send the total of both channel’s power to one speaker.
Make sure to check out the vast amount of car amplifiers we have here at Sonic Electronix and find one compatible for your needs today.
If your car audio sound system is not meeting your expectations then maybe your specifications are to blame. When examining mono and multi-channel amplifiers, there a few specifications that you should pay closer attention to than others.
2, 3, 4, 5 or more channel amplifiers are usually Class A/B. The class is determined by the configuration of the circuitry. Class A/B circuitry leans towards being more inefficient but provides higher sound quality. This makes them ideal for mid to high frequencies but are sometimes used for subwoofers as well. They will also run at much cooler temperatures considering the lower wattage applications they are required to be operated in. If you are considering purchasing a multi-channel amplifier, then the following specifications should be kept in mind to sway your decision:
- Signal-to-Noise Ratio: This figure refers to the strength of the signal vs. the level of back ground noise. A high value will indicate a lower background noise and as a result, a better signal.
- THD (Total Harmonic Distortion): This is the measurement of the harmonic distortion that is present. It can be explained as the change in the signal as it is being amplified and exactly how much it is changed. A lower value is desirable and a THD value of less than .10% is inaudible.
- Channel Separation: Sometimes referred to as “cross talk” this value indicates the level of interference between channels. This value is measured in decibels and the higher the value, the greater and more effective the channel separation will be.
Mono-Channel Amplifiers usually are Class D. These amplifiers are going to be able to obtain lower ohm loads and higher output which makes them ideal for subwoofers. They are more efficient then their class A/B counterparts. In recent years, monoblock amplifiers have become more efficient and with smaller chassis. Features such as signal-to-noise ratio and THD will often be negatively effected. However, these specifications are not as important as others in regards to mono-channel amps. When examining mono amplifiers there a few different specs you should pay a bit more attention to:
- Damping Factor: Having a high damping factor means there is a high ratio between the nominal load impedance (typically 8W ) and the source impedance of the amplifier. It is said that the higher this value is, the more cone control is present which results in a better system response and more accurate bass.
- Pre-Amp Outputs: Most Mono amps have pre-amp outputs to daisy chain multiple amplifiers together without splitting the pre-outs from your head-unit.
- Subsonic Filter:Only on mono amplifiers, this filter allows you to block frequencies that are not able to be reproduced by your subwoofer. This filter is usally variable between 15-50 Hz.
Using an amplifier in the wrong application is bad, mkay.
Cross It Over
You might be wondering why amplifiers have features such as low-pass, high-pass, and subsonic filters. A lot of people will install an amplifier without properly setting these controls which can result in poor audio quality. We are here to make sure this does not happpen to you! Crossovers are filters which means they use capacitors and inductors to block or pass different ranges of frequencies. There are two types of crossovers: active and passive. Passive are not adjustable and require no work on your part as it is already installed and preset depending on the capacitor or inductor that is already installed inside the device or crossover. Active are usually adjustable in that you can select the crossover points. There are a few important terms to consider when refering to crossovers:
Low-Pass Filter- This allows the low frequencies to pass or be allowed to play. This feature is used mainly for subwoofers. The low frequency spectrum will contain any frequency of about 100 Hz or lower.
High-Pass Filter- This allows the high frequencies to pass or be allowed to play. Mainly used for Mid-bass drivers and tweeters. The high pass will usually be for frequencies of 100 HZ and up.
Subsonic Filter- This filter prevents any frequencies that are not audible to be blocked. This filter is usually set around 20 Hz. It is essentially a safe guard to keep you from damaging your subwoofer.
Phase- This feature ensures that the sound from your subwoofer reaches you at the same time as your speakers. For example, if you are hearing an echo, your should set your phase to 0. This feature is adjustable from 0-180 degrees.
Bass EQ- Also known as a bass boost, this feature is designed to boost select frequencies, usually around 40 or 45 Hz.
Gain or Level- This function is used to match the voltage that is coming from your headunit in order to prevent clipping.
Rolloff or Slope- This concept is the most difficult to comprehend. This describes the rate in which the audio level will increase or decrease per octave as the frequency rises or falls. Most commonly, amplifiers will have a 12dB octave slope. Basically what this means is that once you have changed the frequency of the signal by a factor of 2 or 1 octave, the signal will change by 12 dB.
If we know our customers, bass is one of the most important aspects of their audio systems. In order to achieve such bass, you must have an amplifier that will be able to fill the bill. The folks at Lanzar have revamped their OptiDrive series amplifiers for 2012. Most of these beastly amps are now 0.5 ohm stable meaning they are ideal for competitions and daily use alike. Having the ability to maintain 0.5 ohm stability can keep the frustration away from people who own Dual 2 ohm subwoofers. Two Dual 2 ohm subwoofers can ether be wired in Series configuration at an impedance of 2 ohms or in parallel configuration at an impedance of 0.5 ohms in which these amplifiers can accomplish. The OptiDrive Series is available in ten monoblocks and two 4-channel models so you can be certain that you can find an amplifier to fit your application.
An amplifier is only as good as the versatility and quality it can achieve. The Optidrive Series amplifiers all share a variety of different functions and features that make them an invaluable purchase. They all include built in low and high-pass filters for proper tuning and sound customization. The included wired bass control knob ensures that bass levels can be conveniently controlled from a user-defined location. Pre-amp outputs are present to daisy chain multiple amplifiers together which is ideal for competitions. As well as a heavy duty power coated heatsink for maximum heat dissipation. Combined with a subsonic filter and a 180 degree phase control, you have an amplifier that is ready to take on any challenge.